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Digital Divide In America

May 3, 2009

As we study social media and all of its great potential we must still recognize that in America there is a digital divide that keeps some people unaware of the latest “Trending Topics” on Twitter. Being a college student has made many of my colleagues and myself dependent on the Internet and our lab tops. At any various point in the day a common scene would be my housemates and I gathered in the living room with the television on and our Facebook profiles popped on each one of our computer screens. But what about the hundreds, and thousands of Americans that do no have access to the internet?

 

           future4 InternetforEveryone.org is a national initiative of public interest for providing access to the Internet for everyone across America. The Internet is becoming more and more critical in our everyday lives and in order to play an active part in our economy and democracy it is becoming imperative that you have access to the Internet.  In some of the most technological developed cities there are millions of people, particularly in low-income households, immigrant populations and senior citizens that do not have Internet connection. One of the barriers in particular is the cost of Internet access. A high-speed Internet service can cost up to $40 to $60 per month. In Washington D.C. there are more than 240,000 residents that do not have an Internet connection in their homes and nearly 160,000 have no Internet access what so ever. According to the U.S. Census Bureau in California there are nearly 16 million people that do not have high speed Internet.  Despite the cost and limitedness to access there is also the issue that some people are just not technologically savvy enough to navigate themselves on the web.  According to InternetforEveryone.org there are certain urban areas that Internet providers “red line”because of the lack of financial return.  What we learn everyday in this social media course is that people are finally being able to communicate and create media with their own voices and opinions. Social media tools and technologies give people a voice that they once did not have in the past.  h Bridging the digital access gap would give more people the opportunity to be heard. This topic the the digital divide is important to understand related to social media because more and more people are using it to communicate with one other and it is important for everyone to have the equal opportunity to hear about it.  InternetforEveryone.org has created  four basic principles to make this happen.

  • Access:  Every household and institution will have access to the Internet.
  • Choice: Each Internet user should have the ability to enjoy real choice in online content
  • Internet user must enjoy real choice in online content as well as among high-speed Internet providers to achieve lower prices and faster speeds.
  • Openness: Internet users should have the right to freedom of speech and commerce online in an open market
  • Innovation: The Internet should be a place to create jobs, and foster entrepreneurship, spread new ideas and serve as a leading engine of        economic growth.

Internetforeveryone.org 

Jana Bradley

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